Panasonic pushes Blu-ray

May 6, 2005

Panasonic will open a technology center for producing DVDs based on the next-generation Blu-ray Disc format. The plan is meant to reassure Hollywood that the current format battle will be resolved and that Blu-ray is the way to go, CNET News reported.

The electronics maker will officially open the center this month, with full test production of Blu-ray ROM discs beginning in June. Production of dual-layer discs will begin in December. The test discs will feature content suitable for demonstration purposes.

The plan, however, is temporary. Panasonic has no intention of permanently getting into the disc manufacturing or content creation businesses, CNET said. With a debate in the industry over what will be the next generation DVD format, Panasonic executives said it was necessary to demonstrate something tangible for the entertainment industry.

Panasonic and other consumer electronics and PC names, such as Sony, Dell and Hewlett Packard, are promoting the Blu-ray Disc format, while Toshiba is among another group of companies supporting the HD-DVD format. The incompatible formats aim to significantly increase the data storage capacity of discs and succeed DVD as the next step in optical storage.

Hollywood studios have been pushing for a unified next-generation DVD format to prevent consumer confusion and to avoid having to print movies onto two different disc formats.

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